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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Larian Studios - On Pirating Games and Cloud Streaming

Default Larian Studios - On Pirating Games and Cloud Streaming

January 5th, 2012, 15:13
Lar has updated his blog with an article on DRM, why he used to pirate games, bought them and what he sees as the future.
But secondly, I think the entire DRM argument is part of a dying model, at least in its current form. Traditionally we expect people to pay for the entire experience present in the box, even if the game doesn’t turn out to be as expected. Even a demo can be misleading, a lot of them are even made to be misleading. I have an entire collection of games that I bought but only spent a couple of hours with. If you have limited disposable income (as I did when I pirated), at the price games go, paying full price for only a couple of hours of entertainment is quite expensive. It’s also unfair, especially if 90% of the game doesn’t match what’s on the back of the box. Of those thousands of pirated games I played, there were only a few that I played through, with most of the games in my collection only receiving 5 minutes of my attention.
I did pay for the few games that I played over and over (some of them I even bought multiple times because I lost the activation codes ). But in some cases, I paid for crap, and then I felt cheated, because when I bought it, the box told me the game wasn’t crap.
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January 5th, 2012, 15:14
Link: http://www.lar.net/2012/01/02/how-i-…eing-a-pirate/

And if it’s a very good game, I’m willing to pay more than what I’d pay per hour for a mediocre game.
I absolutely agree.

// Edit
OK, seems the link was already there … stupid me

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January 5th, 2012, 15:18
No, the link was originally not there. I added it just before you posted your reply

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January 5th, 2012, 15:32
"On piracy in general and the game’s industry hate of it: Greed on both sides has a lot to do with the issue"

wait what ?

"we’ll buy the game if it’s good."

100% true

What this guy forgets to mention is that there is NO media that can inform you how good a game is , of course i am not going to buy a game when all the sites are giving it a 10 , i am not going to buy when i see exclusives , trailers and advertisements in the same sites or see "zenimax" appearing in my peerblock .
Demos ARE a lost case since in strategy games you can never know how good late game will be ( example EU3 before patching ) and in general RPGs are too big to have a complete opinion before going deep into them so what is left to do before buying an overly expensive game ( modern ones are like 8% of my wage)
1. Renting
2. Pirating
In both cases (now that most developers are using steam) you have to use cracks so it is either becoming a robber baron or trust those who shall never be trusted and possibly waste your money - unless of course that you are buying from a developer that has never let you down .
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January 5th, 2012, 16:25
LOL at people just justifying stealing….really?? You take a chance with everything you buy, from such mundane things as food/clothing, to bigger ticket items like guns, cars, even homes. Any purchase could lead to a lemon, and when you DO get burned, you take the refund route, you don't steal the next to compensate for your lack of vision/research beforehand. I've ran into return situations where I've had to write letters to get my money back, or do phonecalls, but in the end I never got burned in the pocket.

Oh, and if 50 bucks is that dear to a person, they should be saving more or working harder, imo. If it's a choice between buying a game or food, I suggest the food! I don't think anything makes me see red more than people ever saying stealing is ok, or warranted.



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January 5th, 2012, 16:37
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Oh, and if 50 bucks is that dear to a person, they should be saving more or working harder, imo. If it's a choice between buying a game or food, I suggest the food! I don't think anything makes me see red more than people ever saying stealing is ok, or warranted.
You forgot the third option: don't buy at all or wait few months unitl the price is very low (or on a Steam sale). Steam and digital distribution prices are cheaper than the price of an empty recordable DVD to burn pirated games on.
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January 5th, 2012, 16:49
I have started abandoning more and more games that I buy - it simply isn't worth my precious time to complete them. Could be a sign of aging of course - I'm less easily impressed than I was years ago. So many things seems derivative. I quite like the idea of paying a nominal fee for the first few hours, and then paying extra to get more (up to some max). The devil is in the detail of course. But a new business model which encourages quality content would be great.

@ Carnifex - I did precisely what Lar (?) did when I was a teenager - copied tapes at a friend's placed so I could play new C64 games. I did not have the money to buy games, and 'everyone did it' (well, except for the really rich kids). I can now afford the games I want and I buy them. Do I feel any residual guilt? Nope.
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January 5th, 2012, 17:12
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
You forgot the third option: don't buy at all or wait few months until the price is very low
Yes. I'm always baffled how many people just forget this option.

No-one forces you to buy a game on Day One.

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January 5th, 2012, 17:16
@Carnifex

For one did you know you can't return games once they have been opened and you would need to open it to try it. Also in every one of your examples there is usually a way to try it out from being able to inspect a home before buying, doing a test drive and inspection of a car, to trying samples at a store, and trying on clothing. (there is also rent to buy with certain things) With games though (mostly PC though) even if there is a demo very rarely is the demo representative of the game and many times it is an outright lie to get you to buy.

PS. I only buy games for full price I am sure of and otherwise I either don't bother with the game or buy it cheap. I will also rent the Xbox 360 version of some games to see if I like it but I don't like using my 360 so that isn't often.
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January 5th, 2012, 18:46
The only game I have that I paid full price for was Civ V (prior to that it was probably Ultima VII), and I only say that "I" paid full price for it because my wife bought it for me as a gift and I pay the CC bill!

The problem I see more and more (and one of many reasons I wait a year or more before buying a game) is that companies are becoming, IMO, more and more cavalier about releasing games that are unfinished or have crippling bugs. You end up with an hours worth of download fixes on DAY ONE! And it doesn't even fix all the problems. I don't know of any other industry that can get away with releasing such shoddy products.

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January 5th, 2012, 19:01
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
The problem I see more and more (and one of many reasons I wait a year or more before buying a game) is that companies are becoming, IMO, more and more cavalier about releasing games that are unfinished or have crippling bugs.
Which - imho - tells a lot about the publisher's greed.

Any publisher shoukld be aware of the fact that a buggy game

a) decreases the publisher's reputation
b) decreases the profits

but they just don't care. They seem to be content with the profits they earn from buggy games, although they would be abl to earn much more if the game hasn't been buggy (and that word would spread).

Plus, publishers often seem to take the underwhgelming sales of a game rather as a sign of bad gameplay than of buggyness. Regarding buggineyy, publishers just appear to be completely learning-resistant.

But the worst point is - imho - that they just don't care that pushed buggy games also damage the reputation and the profits of the developers … Publishers insist on the releast of "half-baked" games even though they do get the message that these games are half-baked !

Any REAL business would have to close very, very, very, very, very soon if following this kind of "business model" … For example the movie industry …

A movie is looking as if it is half-baked … You cannot tell that from a software-package …

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January 5th, 2012, 19:03
I bought Gothic 4 after trying the Steam demo.



I disagree with the bugginess argument, however, unless you are talking about bugs that are so extreme that you actually cannot play the game. Otherwise, why should games be held to a higher standard than any other sort of software application, which regularly ship with lots of bugs?

Unless you are playing pac-man, you will never get to zero bugs because fixing some bugs often results in new bugs or glitches, and this is directly proportional to the complexity of the game.
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January 5th, 2012, 19:28
One of the biggest problems with Cloud Streaming is going to be the bandwidth usage caps applied by the ISPs. Mine just started implementing those in the past year in the US and I approach the max every month with four active Internet users in the house. Many of my friends in Canada or Australia would love to have the allowance I get though. For instance Rage was just on the Steam Holiday sale, but just to download it would have taken 1/3 of my Canadian friends monthly allotment.

Other technical limitations are going to have to be overcome as well for streaming to go more mainstream. As I mentioned, there are four Internet users in my household. I barely meet the bandwidth requirements for one person to play a streaming game at a time, much less all of us. It's already noticeable if I watch Netflix and someone fires up YouTube or other bandwidth intensive activity. Until the infrastructure is upgraded I am at the maximum speed that I can get through my ISP.

I almost didn't buy the Dragon Knight Saga due to the DRM even though I enjoyed Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinty. I do not like having the limited installs, but price got low enough on a Steam sale to make me go ahead and get it anyway. Having Steam DRM is bad enough, but having more DRM on top of that was enough to make me wait until the price was very low. The limited installs was just patched out recently, though I have finished the game months ago by now.
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January 5th, 2012, 19:53
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Which - imho - tells a lot about the publisher's greed.

Any publisher shoukld be aware of the fact that a buggy game

a) decreases the publisher's reputation
b) decreases the profits

but they just don't care. They seem to be content with the profits they earn from buggy games, although they would be abl to earn much more if the game hasn't been buggy (and that word would spread).

Plus, publishers often seem to take the underwhgelming sales of a game rather as a sign of bad gameplay than of buggyness. Regarding buggineyy, publishers just appear to be completely learning-resistant.

But the worst point is - imho - that they just don't care that pushed buggy games also damage the reputation and the profits of the developers … Publishers insist on the releast of "half-baked" games even though they do get the message that these games are half-baked !

Any REAL business would have to close very, very, very, very, very soon if following this kind of "business model" … For example the movie industry …

A movie is looking as if it is half-baked … You cannot tell that from a software-package …
That's the thing though. It doesn't seem to decrease their profits. At least not significantly. The additional cost of fixing the game before it ships seems to be greater than the loss of profit. And its gamers that are to blame for that.

Well that and the inability to return software when it doesn't work right.

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January 5th, 2012, 19:54
Just curious but he talks about CD Project suddenly starting taking action against pirates. Can anyone elaborate what this is about and what made them change their minds?
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January 5th, 2012, 19:59
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
I disagree with the bugginess argument, however, unless you are talking about bugs that are so extreme that you actually cannot play the game. Otherwise, why should games be held to a higher standard than any other sort of software application, which regularly ship with lots of bugs?
I don't think it is acceptable for ANY software to be shipped in a heavily bugged state.

Unless you are playing pac-man, you will never get to zero bugs because fixing some bugs often results in new bugs or glitches, and this is directly proportional to the complexity of the game.
Yes and no. It's understandable that they can't foresee every single bug given the vast differences in users setups. However, when you see a game get a massive update THE DAY IT IS RELEASED, then obviously those are bug fixes that could have and should have been fixed before hand.

A great example of a game shipped with what they claimed was an unforeseeable bug is Civ IV. When it got to market, it was unplayable if you had just about any ATI video card. This wasn't a case of a handful of cards had an issue, it was nearly ANY ATI video card. They did patch it eventually, but they acted completely surprised when this bug started being reported. Really? You couldn't load up the RC of the game on a few machines with ATI cards?

The problem is that we accept it. I don't really care when a game has some small glitch that makes the rules set be off in a few places, or just that the rules set isn't translated perfectly from PnP or whatever (seems like that is what a large number of the Fix Packs you see out there 'fix'), but when a game is unplayable, or large portions of the game don't work properly, THE GAME SHOULD NOT BE SHIPPED. Even if you can complete it with those portions not working.

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Last edited by blatantninja; January 6th, 2012 at 14:01.
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January 5th, 2012, 20:38
Originally Posted by Tragos View Post
or see "zenimax" appearing in my peerblock .
The Zenimax form letters are surprisingly tame; considering they cut ties to the ESA I guess it's not so surprising as it might otherwise be though. It seems they'll even sometimes send you a followup email thanking you for cooperating if you say you've uninstalled it and thanking you for your support if you say you then purchased or intend to purchase the game.

Originally Posted by stealth View Post
Just curious but he talks about CD Project suddenly starting taking action against pirates. Can anyone elaborate what this is about and what made them change their minds?
Terms of the Bandai suit settlement?
Last edited by jhwisner; January 5th, 2012 at 22:29.
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January 5th, 2012, 21:58
The very definition of pointless: piracy threads. Bit surprised Lar wasted his time with this - it serves as fodder for pirates and, ultimately comes off as disingenuous to me because the publisher might have forced DRM on them - but it's still there on their games regardless of the reason.

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January 5th, 2012, 21:59
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
Terms of the Bandai suit settlement.
Not correct, as far as I can see.

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January 5th, 2012, 22:30
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Not correct, as far as I can see.
Meant that to be a question mark - oops. I guess since it came 7 days after the decision or so it could be to recoup legal expenses or possibly the advice of new lawyers if perhaps they decided it was time for new ones for some reason. No idea though really.

I wonder if they send you a warning and request that you stop first like Zenimax and a few other companies or go straight to the more serious one.
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